Friday, June 11, 2010


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There is no doubting the fact that the solid mineral industry presents one of the best options for the diversification of Nigeria's monolithic economy owning to the large deposits of minerals that have been discovered in the country. About 35 minerals have so far in commercial quantity in the country. Nigeria is also blessed with different types of gemstones like topaz, tourmaline, sapphire scattered in different parts of the country.

A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone, or jewel) is a piece of attractive mineral, which—when cut and polished—is used to make jewelry or other adornments.
Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone

Precious stone is usually valued based on the quality and not quantity and based on this, it is guided by the 4C rules namely Colour, Cut, Carat Weight and Clarity.

Colour: Color is typically the most important value-setting factor for gemstones. All gems have a preferred color or a relatively small range of preferred colors. The more the colour varies from this range -- lighter or darker, more vivid or less -- the less valuable the stone.Colour is composed of three dimensions: hue, tone, and saturation.

Hue refers to the impression of color usually noticed immediately, such as red, yellow or blue.

Tone refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of an object.

Saturation defines the degree of purity of a hue.

Cut: Cut refers to the shape or design of a stone, arrangement of facets, as well as the precision of the stone's proportions and finish. The cutting process reveals the beauty of a gem.

Gemstones are cut into shapes we are familiar with such as oval, emerald, pear, round, and marquise. in addition, they can be carved or fashioned into almost any design imaginable. Proportions involve the balance and appeal of the basic design. Finish refers to the detail of the workmanship. A well-proportioned cut with a fine finish will show a stone's optical properties to its fullest potential. When all other factors are even (color, clarity, and carat weight), a better-cut gem will be more valuable.

Carat Weight: The size of a gemstone is measured, not by its dimensions, but by weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measurement for gemstones, is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a gemstone referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat; therefore a 75-point gemstone equals 0.75 carat.

Two different gemstones may have the same dimensions but different weights. This is due to the specific gravity or density of the gem mineral. This difference can help gemologists identify a gemstone.

Up to a certain point, the larger a stone is, the rarer it is and the higher the price it will command. For stones that commonly occur in larger sizes, the value may decrease if the gem reaches a size that makes it impractical for jewelry use. Source: Gemological Institute of America
For convenience gemstones dimensions are given in millimeters for describing the general size and shape of a stone.

Clarity: A gemstone's clarity grade is directly related to its rarity. Clarity refers to a gemstone's relative freedom from clarity characteristics. Clarity characteristics include inclusions, which lie within the stone, or blemishes, which lie on the surface of a gem. The fewer clarity characteristics, the more rare the gemstone.

Each variety of gemstone has its own clarity standards. For example, Tanzanite is virtually inclusion-free, while Emerald almost always contains clarity characteristics. For this reason, Gemological Institute of America's grading system divides transparent colored gemstones into three clarity types. This allows gems to be more evenly evaluated as it takes into account the individual nature of each gemstone. Each type is further divided into five grading descriptions.

The combination of these 4c usually affects the price the product is sold.

Preciuos stones have a well established market in North America, Europe and Asian countries. The market is guaranteed and can take up as much quantity as supplied by the seller without having any adverse effect on the price. In fact the more the quantity the better your bargaining power.

The price can increase by as much as between 20%-50% when the product is cut.

It is pertinent to state at this stage that the business of gemstone export in Nigeria has been going on for quite sometime and only a few people are benefitting from it because of lack of information.

As we approach another raining season when the product would be in abundance ,another window of opportunity is open for willing and ready investors especially Nigerians living abroad who want to partner with us for success in the export of the product.

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